High number of Sudanese being placed in corrections

Published 10:26am Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Almost 20 percent of the children Steve King’s office have placed in Mower County this year have been Sudanese.

“We are continuing to see a year of struggling,” King said, adding that Mower County has a “disproportionate amount of Sudanese children being placed out of the home at a great expense to the county.”

Correctional Services has spent about $771,000 on out of home placements in 2012, and about $242,700 of those costs have come from placements of Sudanese children. Corrections has placed 71 children out of the home, and 14 have been Sudanese.

“That tells me something is going on,” King said.

King has taken steps to address the issue with Sudanese success coaches in the county.

“I don’t want to disparage a culture, a community of people,” King said. “There are still far more good people than bad.”

The success coaches and other leaders have said the problem is not cultural, but it’s more to do with bad parenting, which King sees as good news.

“It’s relieving to me because I get that,” King said. “We have bad parenting cross-culturally.”

King has met with other local officials to see if they’re having similar disparities with the Sudanese population and whether there’s a community-wide problem or if it’s just in law enforcement and Correctional Services.

“I’m trying to get the right people to discuss it,” King said.

Officials may reach out to churches for additional help addressing the issues, according to King.

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